How do we conduct reviews?

Who are we?

Our tasting gear

What is Good Cheap Booze?

To us, this means wine or spirits that are good to drink at very reasonable prices. These adult beverages should be a great value at their sales price or better yet, an outstanding value. This usually means wines selling under $15 per bottle (hopefully under $9.99) and spirits under $20 (or at least substantially less than the “leading brand”).

After many in the wine industry of California’s wine country, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying some of the world’s great wines. My own winery for decades, made gold medal-winning Cabernets and Chardonnays. I’ve traveled far and wide and learned about Scots Whiskies right at the source and been served $30 martinis at one of the greatest bars in Europe.

But that’s not what we are about here.

Along the way I’ve met many experienced beverage folks. They will add their own reviews and views from time to time.

One thing my friends in the booze business and I share is the delight in finding a good or even great wine at an amazingly cheap price. Sadly, the media focuses on wine and spirits on the higher end. These are the exclusive and the obscure and sometimes impossible to find outside of one store in New York. Why? Well one reason might be this: free sample of the expensive, the exclusive and the obscure.

Few are willing to provide independent, useful commentary on wines that sell under $20, under $15 or under $10.

Well, I would like to know what’s good before I find myself standing in a crowded aisle staring at labels and prices, and I bet you would, too. That’s what is going on here. I hope you will help.  In addition to our staff reviews, we welcome your s. Dissent is good, too. After all, taste is subjective and we encourage lively, cordial discussion.

We have lots of ideas about how this site can grow and expand, but that’s in the future. For now, we are hunting Good Cheap Booze and I can’t wait to share what we find with you.

Tasting Methods and Gear– Standard Practices

Wine Prep

Red Wine: 30 Minutes in the refrigerator then 20 minutes on the counter prior to tasting. This simulates cellar temperature for red wine, which is not usually at its best at “room temperature”.

White Wine and Rosé: Remove from the refrigerator 10 minutes prior to tasting.

Sparkling Wine: Remove from the refrigerator and proceed.

Red Wine Procedure

Pour one glass for immediate tasting.

Pour another glass with using an aereator. Taste.

White Wine and Rosé Procedure

Pour one glass for immediate tasting.

Pour another glass and wait five minutes and taste.

Sparkling Wines:

Pour one glass for immediate tasting.

Pour another glass, wait five minutes and observe the bubbles.

Spirits

Pour one glass and taste neat.

Pour another glass with ice, wait five minutes and taste.

Pour one typical, simple cocktail and taste.

Our Tasting Gear

Reds and Chardonnay are tasted in a Riedel Overture Red Wine Glass

Whites, Rosé and Sparklers are tasted in a Riedel Overture White Wine Glass

Spirits are tasted in a standard Old Fashioned glass and a Highball glass

The aerator is a Vinturi Red Wine Aerator

Our decanter is a standard 1 liter size, filled to its broadest point

Glassware makes a bit difference in the enjoyment of wines. We own a wide variety of them from simple to top shelf expensive. We feel that these Riedel “everyday” glasses, which are, priced at $7 to $9 per stem, offer a decent presentation of the wines and are representative of quality and size of glassware most would use for these range of wines

Some of these wines might be enhanced by more elaborate glassware, but we feel that laying down a standard will make our staff reviews more consistent. If a particular wine captures us, we may also try it out in a high end Cabernet glass for example. If we do, it will be noted as a bonus in the review.

The Vinturi Red Wine Aerator is now a classic in its category. There may be others to consider today, but we’ve used this one for many years and it works fine.

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